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This treat derives from the fruit of the Theobroma cacao tree, which means 'food of the gods'. Its ripe pods are opened to reveal rows of cacao beans surrounded by a sweet white pulp.
The beans, with their pulp, are scooped out and covered with banana leaves before being left to ferment and develop that distinctive chocolate flavour, finally being sun-dried on bamboo mats.
For most chocolate, the cacao beans would then be roasted at temperatures of over 100°C. However, in raw chocolate production ingredients are never exposed to temperatures of more than 46°C. This preserves more of the beneficial nutrients present in the cacao nibs, and the rich, complex flavours that can be altered by heating at high temperatures.
The nibs are then removed from the hard shells of the cacao bean and ground to produce chocolate liquor - chocolate in a pure, liquid form.
Raw cacao is considered a superfood for its high concentration of enzymes, antioxidants and minerals including iron, magnesium and zinc. It also contains the mood-boosting amino acid tryptophan.
We stock a huge range of tempting raw chocolate treats. Here are some to choose from:
One of our best-sellers, The Raw Chocolate Company's Raw Chocolate Coated Raisins are simple yet irresistible - plump, juicy organic raisins dipped in raw chocolate and dusted in cacao powder. Their Raw Chocolate Coated Mulberries are equally delicious, with the added benefit of superfood status.
For a further superfood-boost, try the Healthy Heart Chocolate Superfood by Conscious Chocolate, with maca - a Peruvian root similar to ginseng - and nutrient-rich wild blue-green algae.
IQ Cinnamon & Cayenne Raw Superfood, made from the finest Criollo cacao beans and pepped up with spices, is reminiscent of the original Mayan and Aztec recipe for chocolate.
Kids and adults alike will enjoy Mulu Raw Chocolate Buttons, which are chemical-free, gluten-free and ethically-traded.
Just about everyone loves to eat chocolate, but many of us do so on the quiet, with feelings of guilt.
Well, NOT ANY MORE!
Here are 10 reasons why we definitely should be eating and enjoying good quality dark chocolate
Chocolate contains flavanoids, a type of flavonol.
Flavonols are natural compounds found in plants which help the plants to fight off toxins and to heal themselves. Eating lots of food with flavonols transfers those benefits to you. The flavonoids in chocolate act as natural antioxidants in your body, helping your body’s cells to fight damage, and the flavonoids even help with bad cholesterol.
Seems unlikely doesn't it!
Chocolate in its natural state doesn’t include sugar. Chocolate that has not had sugar added to it has natural antibacterial agents that combat tooth decay.
It’s adding all that sugar that can make chocolate unhealthy for you, so keep that in mind when you are seeking chocolate for health purposes and try to buy chocolates that don’t have a bunch of additives like sugar and marshmallows and nuts and caramel.
Remember, dark chocolates usually have less sugar than milk chocolates.
White chocolate isn’t really chocolate, so it doesn’t count.
Take a look at our Raw Chocolate range
The carbohydrates found in chocolate raise the serotonin levels in your brain, which can make you feel happier. Chocolate also raises the level of endorphins in your brain, which can put you in a better mood.
A study of 44,000 people who ate at least one serving of chocolate per week showed each person in the group was 22 percent less likely to suffer from a stroke than people who did not eat chocolate.
All you students, remember this one.
A 2009 study showed that those who drank chocolate cocoa had an easier time counting and doing math.
It’s all those flavonoids in the chocolate helping the flow of blood to the brain.
Really. (Try Willie's Cacao grated into hot milk)
Back to those flavonoids again, that natural compound found in chocolate. It also helps to reduce blood pressure. You just have to remember a little chocolate a day can be good for you, but a lot of chocolate a day is very bad for you.
Feeling tired? Need something to pick you up a little?
Try chocolate! It contains natural caffeine, which can give you a little extra pep.
This one might sound a little wacky, but one study showed that people who ate chocolate at least three times a month tended to live at least a year longer than people who at a lot of junk food.
Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine which has been shown to help reduce the coughing reflex.
Okay girls, this is one for you!
Some studies have suggested chocolate helps to ease the symptoms of menopause and PMS.
Even if those studies would happen to be incorrect, remember that chocolate can help put you in a better mood, so painful symptoms might seem less stressing.